Rajasthan ordinance protects officials from probes, 72 killed in mosques blast in Afghanistan, Delhi air quality severe after Diwali: Top stories | india news | Hindustan Times
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Rajasthan ordinance protects officials from probes, 72 killed in mosques blast in Afghanistan, Delhi air quality severe after Diwali: Top stories

Delhi’s air quality nosedived to ‘severe’ levels after Diwali, The Vasundhara Raje government has passed an ordinance which seeks public servants in Rajasthan from being investigated for on-duty action, Suicide bombers attacked two mosques in Afghanistan on Friday, killing at least 72 people

india Updated: Oct 21, 2017 07:56 IST
HT Correspondent
Smog envelops in National Capital after diwali at Kalkaji, in New Delhi, India on Saturday, October 20, 2017.
Smog envelops in National Capital after diwali at Kalkaji, in New Delhi, India on Saturday, October 20, 2017. (Sanchit Khanna/HT PHOTO)

Rajasthan govt passes ordinance that seeks to protect judges, babus from probe

The Vasundhara Raje government has passed an ordinance, which seeks to protect both serving and former judges, magistrates and public servants in Rajasthan from being investigated for on-duty action without its prior sanction. The Criminal Laws (Rajasthan Amendment) Ordinance, 2017, promulgated on September 7, also seeks to bar the media from reporting on accusations till the sanction to proceed with the probe is obtained. “No magistrate shall order an investigation nor will any investigation be conducted against a person, who is or was a judge or a magistrate or a public servant,” reads the ordinance which provides 180 days immunity to the officers. Read the story here.

Less pollution this Diwali but Delhi’s air quality has entered severe zone

The Capital’s air quality nosedived to ‘severe’ levels after Diwali, even though a Supreme Court ban on the sale of firecrackers in the region prevented a smoggy situation like the previous year. The city witnessed extremely high pollution levels — its worst in 17 years — around Diwali in 2016, forcing the apex court and several environmental bodies to take remedial measures. The Air Quality Index (AQI) of Delhi stood at 403 on Friday, markedly better than 2016’s post-Diwali count of 445. However, it did not fare as well as the same period in 2015 — when the AQI count measured just 360. Good air quality, in this index, falls in the 0-50 range. Read the story here.

Rejected Afzal Guru’s mercy plea on government’s advice: Pranab Mukherjee

Former president Pranab Mukherjee said on Friday he rejected Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru’s mercy petition on advice from the government as he could not have assumed the role of the court which had already considered the death sentence at various stages. Mukherjee insisted that it was for lawmakers to amend the law and abolish capital punishment, which is in the Indian Penal Code. During his tenure from 2012 to 2017, Mukherjee rejected 30 mercy pleas. “Before a mercy petition comes to the President, it passes through various stages and different actions had already been taken. The President goes by the advice of the government,” he told HT in an interview. “If the government advises rejection of the mercy petition, the President naturally will go by that. The President cannot assume the role of the court which had already considered the death sentence at various stages.” Read the story here.

Modi government nothing but UPA III, says RSS-affiliate BMS

The BJP-led NDA government is continuing with the policymaking processes of its predecessor, resulting in a scenario with no new jobs and sluggish economy, the labour wing of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) has said. The Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh (BMS), which claims to represent over 5,000 affiliated unions, has upped the ante against the government’s economic policy, claiming it has neither resulted in job creation, nor given indigenous production a fillip. The outfit will organise a march to Parliament on November 17, against what it calls the “anti-labour policies”. BMS president Saji Narayanan told HT the participation of common man in policymaking is totally absent today as was the case during the UPA regime. Read the story here.

North Korea, Pakistan not invited for consumer protection conference in India

India has not invited Pakistan and North Korea to attend the first global conference on consumer protection to be inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi next week, consumer affairs Minister Ram Vilas Paswan said. The two-day Regional Conference on Consumer Protection will be held on October 26-27 and will see the participation of 23 countries, besides India, which is organising the event at the request of United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD). “We have not invited two countries — North Korea and Pakistan — for the conference even though they fall in the region of the countries we are inviting to the conference. We have invited others including China,” Paswan said on Friday. Read the story here.

Communist party seniors had plotted to overthrow Xi, says top official

Several Communist Party of China (CPC) leaders had plotted a coup against President Xi Jinping, a top official has alleged, indicating a power struggle within the ruling party that contradicts the narrative of unity. Liu Shiyu, chairman of the China Securities Regulatory Commission, claimed that a group of former top leaders, who have been expelled from the party and are now in jail, had attempted to overthrow the Xi government. “(Xi) addressed the cases of Bo Xilai, Zhou Yongkang, Ling Jihua, Xu Caihou, Guo Boxiong and Sun Zhengcai. They had high positions and great power in the party, but they were hugely corrupt and plotted to usurp the party’s leadership and seize state power,” Liu said at a panel discussion on the sidelines of the ongoing national congress of the CPC. Read the story here.

At least 72 killed in suicide bombings at two mosques in Afghanistan

Suicide bombers attacked two mosques in Afghanistan on Friday, killing at least 72 people including children, officials and witnesses said. One bomber walked into a Shi’ite Muslim mosque in the capital Kabul as people were praying on Friday night and detonated an explosive, one of the worshippers there said. At least 39 people died in the blast at the Imam Zaman mosque in the city’s western Dasht-e-Barchi district. No group claimed responsibility. Separately, a suicide bombing killed at least 33 people at a mosque in central Ghor province, a police spokesman said. Read the story here.

CIA says US-Canadian family held hostage in Pak for 5 yrs, contradicts Pak army

CIA chief Mike Pompeo has said a US-Canadian couple kidnapped by militants in Afghanistan had been held for five years inside Pakistan before being freed, contradicting the Pakistan Army’s claim that the hostages were rescued shortly after entering the country from Afghanistan. “The couple had been held for five years inside Pakistan,” Pompeo said on Thursday during a wide-ranging discussion at the Foundation for Defence of Democracies, a Washington-based think-tank. His remarks contradicts the Pakistan Army which had said in a statement that the hostages “were captured by terrorists from Afghanistan during 2012 and kept as hostages there.” Read the story here.

Rohingya crisis: Another Oxford rebuff to Aung San Suu Kyi

Students at the Oxford college where Myanmar’s state counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi studied have become the latest group to strip her of an honour bestowed on her years ago for her alleged defence of the handling of the Rohingya issue by Yangon authorities. Students of St Hugh’s College have voted to remove her name from its junior common room because her response to the crisis is “inexcusable”, according to the JCR committee. The college earlier removed a portrait of the Nobel Peace Prize winner. The Oxford City Council earlier voted to strip her of the Freedom of the City title, as other organisations in the UK followed suit amid growing official and non-official concern over the Rohingya issue. Read the story here.

Google, Facebook, Uber among companies to lobby for ‘Dreamers’ to remain in US

Nearly two dozen major companies in technology and other industries are planning to launch a coalition to demand legislation that would allow young, illegal immigrants a path to permanent residency. The Coalition for the American Dream intends to ask Congress to pass bipartisan legislation this year that would allow these immigrants, often referred to as “Dreamers,” to continue working in the United States, the documents said. Alphabet Inc’s Google, Microsoft Corp, Amazon.com Inc, Facebook Inc, Intel Corp, Uber Technologies Inc, IBM Corp, Marriott International Inc and other top US companies are listed as members, one of the documents shows. Read the story here.

Saina Nehwal, HS Prannoy lose in quarterfinals, exit Denmark Open badminton

Saina Nehwal and HS Prannoy were knocked out of the $750,000 Denmark Open badminton tournament after losing their respective quarterfinals in straight games at Odense on Friday. Prannoy lost his men’s singles last-eight match 13-21, 18-21 to top seed Son Wan-ho in 44 minutes. This was the South Korean’s third win over Prannoy in four meetings and first since 2014. Earlier, unseeded Saina, who is ranked 12th in the world, went down 10-21, 13-21 in less than half an hour to Japanese fourth seed Akane Yamaguchi in the Superseries Premier tournament. This was Saina’s second loss in three meetings against the Japanese World No.5. Akane will next take on Chinese World No.10 Chen Yufei, against whom the Japanese has a 3-1 record. Read the story here.